Bar­bara Pash Mil­sten

Long­time writer and edi­tor was fa­mil­iar to read­ers of the Jewish Times, The Bal­ti­more Sun and other pub­li­ca­tions

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen fras­mussen@balt­

Bar­bara Pash Mil­sten, an ac­com­plished Bal­ti­more writer and edi­tor known for ver­sa­til­ity, at­ten­tion to de­tail and her keen ad­her­ence to dead­lines, died Fri­day at Gilchrist Hos­pice Care in Towson. The Pikesville res­i­dent was 75. “I have been a part of Bar­bara Pash’s beat for more than 22 years,” Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Kevin B. Kamenetz said in a state­ment. “I al­ways had tremen­dous re­spect for her as a solid jour­nal­ist and trusted com­mu­nity re­source.

“She had a great knack for cov­er­ing lo­cal and state pol­i­tics, and I will miss her per­son­al­ity and words,” Mr. Kamenetz said.

The daugh­ter of Dr. David T. Pash, a den­tist, and Ruth W. Pash, a home­maker, Bar­bara Ellen Pash was born in Jersey City, N.J., and raised in Mor­ris­town, N.J.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school in 1958, she at­tended the Univer­sity of Michi­gan, where she ob­tained a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in 1962 and a mas­ter’s de­gree in his­tory in 1963.

Ms. Mil­sten was a staff mem­ber of the col­lege news­pa­per, the Michi­gan Daily, whose edi­tor at the time was Tom Hay­den. Mr. Hay­den later mar­ried ac­tress Jane Fonda and be­came known as a civil rights and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist.

“I met her in a Rus­sian stud­ies class,” said her hus­band of 52 years, Don­ald Mil­sten. “She got an A and I got an A-. She was the smartest lady I ever knew.”

They mar­ried in 1964 and two years later moved to Bal­ti­more.

“Af­ter the kids were … in school, she started free­lanc­ing,” said Dr. Mil­sten, a found­ing fac­ulty mem­ber of the Univer­sity of Mary­land, Bal­ti­more County who later re­tired as di­rec­tor of the Mary­land En­ergy Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In1979, Ms. Mil­sten joined the staff of the Bal­ti­more Jewish Times as a re­porter and worked her way up to lo­cal news edi­tor, then se­nior edi­tor. She used her maiden name, Bar­bara Pash, as her by­line.

As a re­porter, her beats were var­ied. She cov­ered Bal­ti­more metro gov­ern­ment, devel­op­ment is­sues, res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial zon­ing and busi­ness. It was not un­com­mon for her to write four to six news ar­ti­cles, fea­ture sto­ries and pro­files a week.

Dur­ing the Gen­eral Assem­bly, she over­saw and di­rected the news­pa­per’s An­napo­lis bu­reau.

As an edi­tor, she was re­spon­si­ble for six to eight spe­cial sec­tions per year. She de­vel­oped one of those sec­tions, “Style,” from an in­sert into a stand-alone mag­a­zine.

“She did it all,” said Alan Feiler, who worked with Ms. Mil­sten at the Jewish Times and is now the edi­tor of JMORE: Bal­ti­more Jewish Liv­ing. “I learned at her feet and she taught us all a lot. There was no one else like her.”

“Noth­ing both­ered her. When some politi­cian or im­por­tant per­son tried to per­suade her not to do a story, she’d push back with bril­liance and grace. She was un­flap­pable,” said An­drew A. Buerger, who had been pub­lisher of the Jewish Times and CEO of its par­ent com­pany, Al­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“She was dogged and te­na­cious when pur­su­ing a story. She was not bois­ter­ous, but quiet. She was not some­one who sought at­ten­tion,” said Mr. Buerger, whose great­grand­fa­ther founded the news­pa­per in 1919. “She was pleas­ant and a joy to have around the of­fice.”

“She was a very de­ter­mined and fo­cused lady. She de­manded a lot of the peo­ple she worked with,” her hus­band said.

“As a writer, she loved lo­cal hard news. That was her bread and but­ter. Bar­bara was a real com­mu­nity jour­nal­ist and an old- school nuts-and-bolts re­porter,” Mr. Feiler said. “She was an in­sti­tu­tion. All of the po­lit­i­cal play­ers knew her.”

“She loved scoops, and she’d go out there and get them. She loved what she was do­ing, and she was well ac­cepted by ev­ery­one,” he said.

Mr. Feiler said there was a He­brew word that best de­scribed his long­time col­league and friend.

“‘Ne­shama’ means a good soul, and that’s what she was, a good soul,” he said. “She was not a flashy per­son.”

An­gela Borne­mann first met Ms. Mil­sten when she took a job as a re­cep­tion­ist at the Jewish Times.

“She was the only woman on the staff when I got there and we be­came friends,” said Ms. Borne­mann, who later be­came a re­porter and copy edi­tor on the news­pa­per.

“She was such a good men­tor,” Ms. Borne­mann said. “She was calm, car­ing and had a won­der­ful moth­erly side. Some­one said at her funeral that she was a ‘rock,’ and she was the rock of our staff.”

In ad­di­tion to her reg­u­lar work, Ms. Mil­sten was a pro­lific free­lance writer who wrote for pub­li­ca­tions in­clud­ing Car­roll Mag­a­zine, Ch­e­sa­peake Life, The Bea­con, Washington Jewish Life, What’s Up? An­napo­lis and or­ga­ni­za­tional pub­li­ca­tions such as the Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more Mag­a­zine.

Dur­ing the 1980s, she wrote for The Bal­ti­more Sun and penned ex­ten­sive fea­ture ar­ti­cles for the old Sun­day Sun Mag­a­zine, where her top­ics in­cluded med­i­cal is­sues, bag­pipers and home restora­tion projects to the Lillie Car­roll Jack­son Mu­seum.

Even af­ter leav­ing the Jewish Times in 2009, Ms. Mil­sten con­tin­ued to pro­duce a steady stream of ar­ti­cles.

“I’d drive her from Cum­ber­land to Ber­lin for sto­ries. I was her driver, but she didn’t like me telling peo­ple that,” her hus­band said with a laugh. “She was al­ways hus­tling and pitch­ing sto­ries all the time.”

Ms. Borne­mann, who later was edi­tor of the Owings Mills Times, Towson Times, Jef­fer­so­nian, North County News and North­east Booster Re­porter with the Bal­ti­more Sun Me­dia Group, edited many of Ms. Mil­sten’s free­lance ar­ti­cles.

“She was a good writer and a de­tailed lis­tener. She was very per­sis­tent in get­ting things right. She never missed a dead­line and she could good turn around a story fast,” said Ms. Borne­mann, who re­tired last year

Ms. Borne­mann said she never com­plained about edit­ing, sugges­tions or cor­rec­tions.

“If some­one was com­plain­ing about how their story had been edited or the art that ran with it, she’d say, ‘Did they pay you? Then it is theirs,’ ” she said. “She did not suf­fer fools gladly.”

Through the years, Ms. Mil­sten’s work earned her many hon­ors, in­clud­ing sev­eral at the most re­cent Mary­land-DelawareDistrict of Columbia Press As­so­ci­a­tion awards in May.

Ms. Mil­sten was a vo­ra­cious reader, and en­joyed top­ics rang­ing from his­tory and bi­og­ra­phy to Harry Potter, her hus­band said.

She was a mem­ber of Har Si­nai Con­gre­ga­tion.

Funeral ser­vices were held Mon­day at Sol Levin­son & Bros. in Pikesville.

In ad­di­tion to her hus­band, she is sur­vived by a son, Dr. An­drew Mil­sten of Auburn­dale, Mass.; two daugh­ters, Ruth Mil­sten of An­napo­lis and Naomi Gruer of Mill­burn, N.J.; a brother, Dr. Robert Pash of Den­ver; a sis­ter, Jes­sica Pash of New York City; and nine grand­chil­dren. Bar­bara Mil­sten was “hus­tling and pitch­ing sto­ries all the time,” her hus­band said.

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